It has been increasingly difficult lately to give myself the space to be a human being. I am not inclined to be patient, I have no desire to be strong for the sake of strength, and I would mostly like to succumb to a depression nap, almost all of the time.
Showing myself a little compassion is hard; sometimes, it’s hard to even see the point of trying. I do not want to embrace my own humanity.
I am sick of being a person.
But despite feeling negative this week, I know somewhere deep in my heart that I really have grown into myself more in the past couple of years. Even though there are certainly times where I have nearly crippling feelings of self-doubt, on average, my internal dialogue trends a lot more positively than it used to, and I’m significantly more self-assured most of the time. Go me.
This realization that I am doing better is not a new one. It’s also not all that aged. I am well aware of the fact that I’m still constantly making strides (and, honestly, I’m always surprised and a little daunted when I realize that there are infinitely many steps to take).
The foundational parts of my wellness plan, developed with my therapist, are openness, self-advocacy, and self-confidence. In the spirit of these three ultimate objectives, my daily goals are, in general: to be honest about my experiences with everyone and straight-forward about my feelings with my partner, good friends, and those in position to help me; to ask those in position to help me to help me as soon as I recognize that I may need it; to communicate with those around me about gaps in my skill-set and address problems before or while they’re happening; to refrain from extreme self-criticism; to talk to myself the way I would talk to my baby sister about her achievements.
All of these steps are steps that I thought I pretty much had down pat, with the occasional moments of unadulterated humanity allowing my slip-ups, so of course I was completely shocked when I was called out three times in a five minute conversation for my self-deprecating humor.
I attend weekly Women’s Leadership Cabinet meetings at my school. This past week, we discussed how women often engage in negative self-talk on their own, and as a means of social connection, a la Mean Girls. I definitely thought, walking into the meeting, that I had the whole positive self-talk thing in the bag.
Apparently, referring to myself as a fungus you can’t rid of in casual conversation is not considered positive self-talk, even if you do put the fun in fungus.
After we all realized that we were utterly cruel to ourselves, behind the scenes and out in the open, the leader of the session challenged us all to engage in thirty days of positive self-talk and reflection on our attitudes about ourselves and our achievements.
Usually, I ignore challenges. I either think that I don’t have time, that they aren’t necessary, that they’re silly and I’m above them, or that they’re too hard and I won’t be able to tackle them.
This one, though, I’m going to try to see through. Given that I was so oblivious to the fact that I was tearing myself down, albeit subtly, in conversation constantly, I think it’s necessary.
I’m hoping to write a few reflections over the course of this month about this challenge. The first act of radical self-care I’m showing myself, though, is recognizing that I am a busy person and not expecting myself to write thirty thinkpieces about my need for an attitude adjustment and all of the things I’m grateful for.